Startup inKumo seeks to help employees share their expertise

Startup inKumo has developed the Cloud Campus, a cloud- and video-based knowledge sharing software product for companies. This product can be used by organizations to storytell and capture knowledge from employees and use the information for training, marketing, interviews, problem solving, employee retention and more. The Phoenix-based company was started by Bala Adiseshan and Michael Chaisson. I spoke with Chaisson about this knowledge sharing service.
How did you and Bala become business partners?
Bala & I met in October 1998 when we both started at Honeywell here in Phoenix. We have been friends ever since. Within a few months we were talking about going into business together. In 2001 we developed a computer mouse that sensed your heartbeat and skin conductivity, “the Mood Mouse,” and were unable to get funding. Fast forward to 2011, Bala left Honeywell and pitched the idea of an ultra-low cost employee retention program (ERP) system to an investor who agreed to fund inKumo. Bala came to me with the plan, and the funding, and I left my job at GE.
How did the idea of the Cloud Campus emerge?
At the end of 2012 we had learned a great deal about entrepreneurship including understanding why our ERP solution would not sell. We went back to the drawing board and analyzed manufacturing trends and predictions for 2013 and 2020.  We discovered that companies were losing experience faster than they could replace it because the baby boomers are retiring, employees are spending less time in each role and companies were so lean they did not provide a path for employees to learn enough to be qualified to advance.  With the new workforce being raised on the internet, a video solution [was better than giving employees a ] three ring binder and user manuals; we saw an opportunity to improve the way employees share knowledge.
What are some of the features?
Cloud Campus is based on workplace storytelling using asynchronous automated interviews.  The experience is similar to a web conference. Another main feature is natural content sharing, which makes it easy for any employee to share knowhow because we use interviews to elicit expert storytelling. For example, when an employee is interviewed and asked to share a story about how they delighted a customer, that story can be used to teach others.
How did you guys get involved with the Center for Entrepreneurial Innovation?
We both had great corporate pedigrees, but we lacked the experience of starting a company from scratch. We chose CEI because of their focus on mentoring and experience helping software startups. We were not accepted as residents at first, we had the right team, but the wrong idea. CEI worked with us as an affiliate member as we shifted from ERP to Knowledge Sharing. They accepted us as residents after helping us rebuild our vision.
Do you feel this is a disruptive service?
We are crashing the price point of traditional knowledge capture and allowing supervisors to share the best content right away-the only significant cost is the employee’s time. The learning material is created from the best input of all the employees and can be used immediately to improve productivity. If there is a turnover, companies will have that knowledge archived and can use it to help train their replacement.
What kind of traction are you experiencing?
We have 20 beta users who joined before product release, many of which we hope to convert. Two of our new customers are Phoenix based divisions of Global companies.
Have you raised any funding?
We have raised almost $500K from a variety of sources including professional investors.  We are seeking Angel funding at this time primarily to expand sales & marketing efforts.
Get started with inKumo here.
Watch more examples on how to use inKumo here on their YouTube Channel.